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Can You Hear Me Now? Aging and Hearing Impairment

Aging and Hearing Impairment

These tips can help overcome challenges related to aging and hearing impairment.

“Can you repeat that please?”

“I wish you would speak up and stop mumbling!”

“I’m sorry; what was that you said?”

If you’re providing care for an older loved one who struggles with hearing problems, phrases like these are likely part of your daily conversations. And you’re far from alone, with as many as a third of seniors ages 65 – 74 experiencing hearing loss, and half of those over age 75. While aging and hearing impairment are a common pair, the repercussions can range from frustrating to dangerous. Missing out on conversations is hard enough, but a senior with hearing loss may not understand a doctor’s instructions, miss hearing alarms and doorbells, or be unable to hear a car horn honking an alert and be at risk for an accident.

Left untreated, many hearing problems can worsen. It’s important to check with the doctor if hearing loss is suspected, although bear in mind that a senior may become defensive or deny having a problem at all.

To gauge if a senior loved one is struggling with hearing, pay attention to the following:

  • Does the senior struggle with hearing what’s being said over the phone?
  • Is it hard for him/her to join in and follow along with conversations involving multiple people?
  • Is the TV turned up to an unusually loud volume?
  • Does the senior often ask others to repeat what has just been said?
  • Is the senior complaining of others mumbling?

The doctor can help uncover the cause for the senior’s hearing loss, and recommend options to help such as a hearing aid, assistive listening or alerting device, mobile apps, or a cochlear implant if the impairment is severe.

You can also help someone struggling with aging and hearing impairment by attempting to:

  • Minimize background noise and distractions when talking with the senior.
  • Use non-verbal cues as much as possible, such as hand gestures and facial expressions.
  • Speak to the senior face-to-face while maintaining eye contact.
  • Elevate your voice slightly, while never yelling at the person.
  • Speak at a normal pace – slowing down your speech doesn’t help.
  • Use different words if the person is unable to decipher what you’ve said.
  • Maintain patience. As frustrating as it may be to engage in a conversation with someone with hearing loss, it’s even more frustrating for the senior.

Nightingale Homecare, the top-rated provider of home health in Phoenix and surrounding areas, is always here to help as well. We offer a full range of both skilled and non-medical in-home care services that address and overcome a variety of challenges for seniors and the families who care for them.

Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to request free resources related to aging and hearing impairment, and to schedule a complimentary consultation in the comfort of home to learn more about how we can help.

Startling Link Between Anxiety and Aging Acceleration

Senior Care PhoenixAnyone who experiences anxiety on a regular basis, or has a loved one with an anxiety disorder, understands that anxiety can impact overall health and wellbeing, affecting quality of life. Over the years, medical research has pointed to anxiety and stress increasing risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and decreasing “somatic”(bodily) health even without other lifestyle risk factors, such as poor diet, increased alcohol intake, smoking and physical inactivity. Recently, there has been scientific evidence that reveals that anxiety actually disrupts health on a cellular level, increasing the aging process dramatically. The study also revealed that these cellular changes can actually reverse when anxiety is resolved.

The study, conducted in the Netherlands and led by Josine Verhoeven, MSc, and PhD candidate at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, consisted of over 2,000 participants. The participants were divided into three test groups:

  • Those with current, new onset of a variety of anxiety disorders;
  • Those with a long-term history of a variety of anxiety disorders that were resolved for months or years;
  • Those with no anxiety.

A specific part of the DNA, telomeres, were observed during the study. Telomeres are the endcaps of our chromosomes and have been known to shorten with age, and thus are considered an indication of aging on the cellular level.

Ms. Verhoeven and her team hypothesized and discovered that people suffering with several types of anxiety (including social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia (fear of crowds), and generalized anxiety disorder) are at risk of cellular aging, or shortened telomeres. This aging acceleration was remarkable, depending upon the length of anxiety and the type of anxiety disorder experienced. The most important revelation in the study was that those with resolved anxiety, especially those individuals not suffering from anxiety for 10 years or more, had telomere lengths that resembled those of the control group, who had no anxiety at all. This suggests that the reduction and elimination of anxiety could slow down or reverse the aging process.

This study is important for both those who live with anxiety and those who have loved ones suffering from anxiety. Reducing anxiety levels and eliminating anxiety altogether not only leads to an improved quality of life, it appears to have an anti-aging effect on a cellular level.

The researchers report that more research would be necessary to evaluate the individual person-to-person changes in telomeres over time in order to make implications about cause and effect.

Verhoeven stated: “Lifestyle interventions such as increased physical activity have been shown to have a favorable impact on telomere length in a healthy population. Therefore, further studies should test whether such interventions could impact cellular aging in psychiatric patients.”

Ensuring your loved one has an improved quality of life depends on many factors. Please allow the experts at Nightingale Homecare to decrease your anxiety related to finding quality Arizona home health care for your loved one in the Phoenix area, including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and Maricopa County. Contact us today at 602-504-1555!

Posted in Aging Issues, Blog on February 18th, 2015 · Comments Off on Startling Link Between Anxiety and Aging Acceleration